Rebecca and Ron Cole-Turner have formulated the perfect routine to wind down from a long day at the Institution: chants, candles and prayer.
Rebecca Cole-Turner, minister and spiritual director at the United Church of Christ in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and her husband Ron Cole-Turner, professor of theology and ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, will lead participants in Christian meditation during Week Two of the Mystic Heart Meditation Program. The sessions are from 7:15 to 8 a.m. Monday, July 2, through Friday, July 6, in the Presbyterian House sanctuary. Additionally, they will teach work- shops from 12:30 to 1:55 p.m. Tuesday, July 3 and Thursday, July 5 in the Hall of Missions.
The Cole-Turners begin each of the weekday sessions with a brief introduction of what to expect, as they are especially interested in welcoming people who are new to the practice of meditation and open to learning about the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical benefits. Wednesday, however, is a much longer meditation, with a prayer to recite at the beginning and another at the end to close the group’s time together.
“No matter which session someone attends, the main thing we are trying to do is get people to feel very comfortable with the idea of sitting in silence at some point in the day and opening themselves physically by relaxing and breathing,” Ron Cole-Turner said.
The meditations are designed to guide a participant’s development of inward peace found through receiving-oriented meditation.
“This is really about opening and connecting to your center,” he said. “Whether you call it the ‘heart’ or the ‘soul,’ it is an awareness of something more grand and loving, an energy and transforming presence.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Rebecca Cole-Turner will teach a workshop called “Taste and See: Awakening to the Practice of Christian Mediation” about ways to deepen the meditation practice and one’s “connection to the Holy.”
On Thursday afternoon, Ron Cole-Turner will lead “A Brief Trip to Taizé: Meditation, Prayer and Chant,” which will include a brief introduction to the Taizé community in France with the opportunity to experience a service.
“All of these versions of our practice help our entire being physically, emotionally, mentally and relationally,” Rebecca Cole-Turner said. “I hope that people take that idea as a way to be used in everyday life, particularly here in the United States where our days are full of a lot of issues that can cause us to be upset. This is a way to refocus and find a core of peace.”